15 Cool Things to Check out in Singapore

Sometimes, we see something so often that we fail to appreciate just how awesome it is. Well, don’t be a stranger in your own country. Check out these awesome places in SG:

1. The Ritz-Carlton’s Art Collection. This hotel has an amazing art collection. Among its prized artworks on display is a Frank Stella installation at the entrance and two Dale Chihuly chandeliers.

2. Hawker Centres. Foreigners rave about the food in our hawker centres, so make sure to visit (and appreciate) them every now and then.

3. Haji Lane. Located at the heart of Singapore’s Moslem district, Haji Lane may be small in size but it offers riches for fashionistas.

4. The Night Life. Well, sure, we’re no New York or Tokyo, but make no mistake: we know how to party. Must-visit venues are the Training Shed and Zouk.

5. Kampong Glam District. This place offers wonderful boutiques, fashionable shops, cosy cafés and cool bars with a Malayan flavor. Check out Masjid Sultan Mosque for something more traditional.

6. Singapore Zoo. One of the best zoos in the region, here you can find and even interact with a myriad of wildlife.

7. Chinatown Heritage Centre. Going here would feel like time traveling as the establishment superbly recreated sets and scenes from Singapore 100 years in the past.

8. The Local Music Scene. The best place to find up-and-coming music artists is probably the Hood Bar and Café, though the Esplanade offers plenty too.

9. Trick Eye Museum. Spend a wonderful afternoon here playing with magical optical illusions and other 2D and 3D marvels.

10. The Singapore Flyer. Towering at 165 meters, this iconic Ferris Wheel will give you a breath-taking panoramic view of Singapore—plus others cool amenities.

11. Singapore Botanic Gardens. Open from 5AM until midnight, SBG offers a bucolic retreat from the metropolis. Even just a short walk here will give you a sense of serenity.

12. Little India. Little India has famous sweet shops, temples, boutiques, salons, and tattoo and henna parlours.

13. Mid-Autumn Festival. Traditionally celebrated to give thanks to a good harvest, the Mid-Autumn Festival is now akin to an artistic show of beautiful lanterns and other creative displays.

14. National Museum of Singapore. For a dose of cultivation, head to NMS to check out art exhibits, film screenings, historic displays and other enriching cultural shows.

15. Gadgets on the Cheap. Practice your haggling skills at Sim Lim Square and Funan Digitalife Mall to get the best deals on gadgets, appliances and all kinds of electronics.

Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list—actually, this barely even scratches the surface—which only goes to show that there’s so, so much you can find here in Singapore—even for locals.

How to Deal with Migraine

To those afflicted with the condition, a migraine attack can be one of the worst experiences in life. It’s a headache so severe that it leaves one unable to do even basic functions like eating and walking (much less complex tasks like driving or doing work). Avoid the horrible pain of migraine by knowing how to remedy an incoming attack.

Avoiding Your Triggers
Migraine can be triggered by different things, so your first line of defense is to avoid your specific triggers.

The most common triggers are:
Food: Cheese, coffee, salty food, dried fish, citrus fruits, cured meats, alcohol, chocolates, nuts, and food additives can possibly trigger migraine. Going hungry or having a poor diet can also cause migraine.

Changes in the environment: Glaring light from the sun, humid weather, and sudden change in barometric pressure or temperature also causes migraine in some people.

Stress or fatigue: Migraine is highly related to stress, particularly stress from work. Extremely emotional episodes—including depression, anxiety, excitement and shock—may also trigger the condition.

Other possible migraine triggers are: very loud noises, strong odors/scents, dehydration, excessive sleep, excessive exercise, prolonged computer use, menstrual period, and eyestrain (bright and flickering lights).

Staying Off Migraine
Most people can sense an oncoming migraine, especially if they know their triggers and usual symptoms (such as a light headache at the back of the head, neck stiffness, sudden mood change and constipation. A definite sign of an oncoming migraine for some people is experiencing what is called an “aura”. This is an irregularity in the nervous system that causes visual disturbances, such as seeing flashing lights (even if you close your eyes) or getting a wavy, zig-zagging vision.

To avoid a full blown migraine attack, immediately avoid or refrain from any suspected triggers and find a way to relax your mind and body. Ideally, you should take a rest in a room with no strong stimuli – the lights are off/ dimmed, little or no sounds come from outside, and nobody would come in to interrupt you. It’s advisable to take some pain reliever if you’re already experiencing severe pain.

Preventing Future Migraine
Aside from avoiding your migraine triggers, it’s recommended to do the following to further reduce the chance of getting a migraine attack:

• Have a consistent daily schedule. Having a daily schedule means avoiding irregularities—whether these are food or situations—that can trigger migraine.

• Get an occasional massage. Massage has been known to help people relax, and helps the body recuperate. Acupressure also relieves migraine in some people.

• Have sufficient sleep. As much as possible, sleep for 6–8 hours a day at regular times. Lack of sleep causes stress that can lead to migraine.

• Improve your well-being. You can also fight stress off through activities that improve your well-being, such as exercising, yoga, meditation, prayer and spending time with your loved ones.

• Take some herbal medicine. Some herbs, including skullcap, feverfew and butter root, have been shown to reduce or eliminate episodes of migraine.

What You Need to Know About Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used for a long time in different cultures for all medicinal and health purposes, and they can be made from a lot of different types of plants. These oil-based aromatics are often derived from different kinds of plant parts.

These oils can either be used by themselves or as a base for a perfume, and are often either topically applied on the skin or inhaled as a fragrance (this makes them widely used for aromatherapy).

While they have been used for as early as five or six thousand years ago, earlier methods of making are quite different than the ones we have now. Today, many producers of essential oils focus on the purity of the oil extracts.

Plants Used for Essential Oils
A lot of different plants are used for their essential oils, which contain these medicinal and health properties, for medical and hygienic purposes. Here are a few of them:

• Lavender – Lavender extracts are great for relieving stress, anxiety, and mental fatigue, as well as for treating bruises and stretch marks
• Peppermint – Used for nausea, vertigo, headaches, and even for exhaustion
• Tea tree – Extracts from this plant can be used for disinfectant and for treating skin blemishes, as well as acne.

How Essential Oils Are Extracted
Essential oils are taken by distilling plants whose oils can have certain therapeutic properties. The process uses different parts from different kinds of plants, such as roots, leaves, stems, and even the flowers and tree bark.
The result of distilling is a highly concentrated amount of the plant’s oils, which has both the fragrance and the properties of the plant itself, and can be used to treat different conditions in different ways.

The Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils have a lot of therapeutic properties that make them great to have at home, whether they are inhaled or applied as a topical ointment, such as:

• Balance hormones – Certain essential oils can do a lot to balance out hormone levels in the body, such as estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, and especially the stress hormone cortisol.

• Boost your immune system – Whether it’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, or antifungal, essential oils can help boost your immune system due to the chemical substances in them that can help your body fight off foreign pathogens.

• Improve your digestion – Aside from helping with stomach spasms, indigestion, and diarrhea, essential oils can even help your digestion to make it easier to break down and absorb nutrients that your body needs.

Essential oils can also have stimulating effects and leave you feeling refreshed and energized, which is great if you find yourself tired out and need to get your energy back. They can also improve your cognitive performance, and even lift your mood.

The Different Types of Essential Oils and What They Can Do For You

Essential oils have been used for a long time in different cultures for all medicinal and health purposes, and they can be made from a lot of different types of plants. These oil-based aromatics are often derived from different kinds of plant parts.

These oils can either be used by themselves or as a base for a perfume, and are often either topically applied on the skin or inhaled as a fragrance (this makes them widely used for aromatherapy).

The Benefits of Common Oils
When used properly, essential oils are not just relaxing, but also boost your immune system and relieve headaches and stress that comes after a long day’s work, which makes them great to have for your home or office in Singapore.
What’s even better is that there are all kinds of essential oils made from different plants and can help you with all kinds of health benefits.

Tea Tree Oil
Also known as melaleuca oil, tea tree oil has strong antimicrobial properties and has a long history of being used as an antiseptic in Australia.

When inhaled, tea tree oil does a lot to relieve cough and prevents yeast and fungal infections from growing, and can be applied topically to heal cuts and wounds.

Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils, and has been known to improve sleep quality and concentration. It also encourages hair to grow for those who are suffering from a type of hair loss called alopecia areata.

Additionally, lavender can be used to fight anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder without having any harmful side effects that could lead it to being abused.

Peppermint Oil
Alleviating digestive problems can call for the use of peppermint oil, which not only alleviates nauseas, headaches, and stomach gases, but also calms the stomach’s smooth muscles and allows the bile to move more freely in the digestive system.

Peppermint oil can also be used to treat symptoms of the HSV-1 virus by acting as a virucide, though more research may be needed for this.

Jojoba Oil
Derived from the seeds of a woody plant native to certain areas in the United States, jojoba seeds can be distilled to make jojoba oil. This essential aromatic oil is often used to help heal wounds faster and reduce symptoms of acne outbreaks.

How You Can Use Essential Oils
Using essential oils after a long day is easy, and there are a lot of ways that you can enjoy it to get the best effects for you.

However, you should keep in mind that more doesn’t always mean better with essential oils because they are highly concentrated extracts of the plant oil. For instance, one drop of peppermint oil is just as strong as twenty-eight cups of peppermint tea.

4 Rules at Work You Can Absolutely Break

Many of us think that we know the secret to career success: always say ‘yes’ to your boss and avoid emotional and personal subjects. Well, think again. Here are four unspoken office rules that are sometimes worth challenging.

1. Avoid Emotional Topics at All Cost
Unless it is non-work related, it should be okay to bring up any problem in the open. Say, you and a n officemate have clashed over a project, resulting to a tension between the two of you. Avoiding the issue may only cultivate the tension and min result may affect your productivity. Talk about it in a professional way by opening up with something like “You seem to disagree with every idea I suggest, and I don’t quite understand why. Did I do anything wrong to upset you?”

2. Only Do Work-Related Tasks
It’s no secret that many people are pursuing a job that isn’t really their passion. So, it is essential to also pursue your interests—both for your creativity at work and happiness in the office. Remember that amazing ideas often sprout when you’re tinkering on something. Plus, hobbies give that sense of calmness, so have a 15-minute cross-stitch break or just listen to your favourite playlist during a coffee break. Once you have relaxed and cleared out your mind for a bit, the answer to a work problem you may have will simply reveal itself.

3. Do What You’re Hired to Do
You may not be hired to make photocopies of documents or encode product details, which you need to complete a task, but no one else would if you won’t go the extra mile. Your boss is constantly looking at the bigger picture, and he’ll admire if you have the initiative to do the same as well. If you focus on doing some small tasks that’s related to your job, you might see things in a better perspective and possibly come up with ideas to help the company.

4. Join Event to Build a Network
Cocktail parties and events can be inefficient for some—not to mention the awkwardness of having to mingle with random people you barely or don’t know at all. Other way around? Build your own network through social media. Get in touch with people who interest you, whether they are in the same industry or not. Retweet some of their posts, strike up a conversation and ask questions by messaging them. From there, it’d be easier to get them to meet you for a coffee or lunch—where you can connect with them in a real and personal way.

These four work rules and the ways to challenge them generally work, but may not be applicable to every situation. It still depends on personal choices, the factors present in the situation and the necessary things you need to do to get to a place you want the most career-wise.

6 Breathtakingly Beautiful Natural Pools in the World

With the scorching heat of the sun here in Singapore, it’s tempting to go elsewhere to relax and cool off. How about taking a dip into a pool? We’re not talking about the swimming pools we often find in hotels and resorts, but those designed by Mother Nature amidst the glorious natural backdrops.

1. The Devil’s Pool (Africa)
Nestled on the edge of the world’s largest waterfalls the Victoria Falls, the Devil’s Pool is intimidating as it is enticing. However, it’s impossible to go there on your own. You need to go through tour organizers as you will need someone to lead the way.

2. Grotta Della Poesia (Italy)
This stunning turquoise sinkhole sits on the Adriatic Coast. The contrast of the clear turquoise waters contained in a rugged surroundings creates an extraordinary feel and look to this mesmerizing destination. There’s also an underground cave here that leads you back to the ocean.

3. Dudu Blue Lagoon (Dominican Republic)
Does swimming in a 100-feet deep clear cobalt blue pool sounds like a perfect getaway for you? Then head to Dudu Blue Lagoon, located in the northern coast of Dominican Republic. This natural pool also boasts numerous underwater caves, making it an ideal destination for scuba divers.

4. Cenote Ik Kil (Mexico)
You can find so many cenotes (natural swimming holes) in Mexico, but there’s none quite like Ik Kil. Located near the ruins of Chichen Itza in Yucatan Peninsula, this 85-feet deep cenote hides in the middle of rainforests, lush trees and handing vines.

5. Havasu Falls (Arizona)
In a place chock-full of natural splendour, Havasu Falls stands out. This blue-green waterfalls is so stunning that it is basically made to be Instagrammed. However, getting there is not as easy as you think. Only those who are willing to hike 10 miles will get to experience this Arizona marvel.

6. Blue Lagoon (Iceland)
A God-given treasure to Iceland, Blue Lagoon gives you a spa-like experience in a bigger, better and more natural way. This naturally heated pool with mineral salts, blue-green algae and fine silica mud will not only relax you but also nourishes and exfoliates your skin. Apart from this beauty benefit, the place is just enormous and truly spectacular.

Let these destinations convince you to dive into the waters. Instead of heading to just another ordinary swimming pool, these natural beauties provide more than just cooling off from the hot and humid weather.

Grooming Kit Essentials for Men

Feel confident all the time with these grooming kit essentials that you should carry in your bag wherever you are.

Comb or Brush
Find a comb that can easily fit in your bag’s pocket for convenience or a brush that will work with curly hair. Stylists recommend a comb with both coarse and fine teeth for precision, or boar hair bristles for the brush that are gentle on the scalp.

Nail File and Clippers
If you don’t have time to get your manicure and pedicure done, you should bring a compact nail grooming kit with you that includes a nail clipper, tweezers, and nail file.

Razor
Some people have hair that grow so fast that they have to shave once every two days. If you’re one of those people, you should always take a safety razor or an electric razor in your bag. You never know when you need to meet a client or attend a meeting late in the day. Some shaving kits come with extra razor blades, shaving cream, and shaving brush for convenience.

Tissue or Moist Towelettes
What if you need to freshen up but the restroom is a mile away? Even if you do manage to reach the restroom when you have an upset stomach, there might not be enough paper towels for you to use, that is why you should always be prepared for the worst. Moist towelettes can be used as substitute to clean your hands, while compact tissues can be used to wipe oil, sweat or dirt from your face.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste
You’ll never know if you will be invited by a client to have dinner or your friends to party after office hours, so you should always bring a compact toothbrush and toothpaste in your bag. Purchase a toothbrush that comes with a removable cap or a plastic receptacle for easy storage. If you can, you should also bring a mouthwash and floss.

Shower Gel and Facial Wash
If you travel a lot, you need to take a pouch containing all the essential toiletries, including a shower gel for easy use. It’s more practical than taking a bar of soap for bathing or washing. The facial wash is also essential especially if you need to spend more hours at work or outdoors, because it will help keep your face clean and oil-free whenever you’re dealing with a client or customer.

Who says only women should carry around grooming essentials? If you want to stay fresh, clean, and presentable all day, it’s important to bring grooming items wherever you go. You don’t need a large bag to make all of these fit, because you can purchase compact travel kits with all the essentials you will need for a challenging day at work.

How to Find and Prepare Baby’s First Solid Food

Preparing the baby’s first solid food can be an exciting but stressful time for first-time parents. How do you determine if your baby is ready for solid food? Which food can you safely prepare for your baby? And how will you introduce different solid food?

When to Feed the Baby
Most babies can be given their first solid food between 4 to 6 months. They are supposed to feed on breast milk or formula while still young because they do not have the capacity to chew and swallow solid food yet. Ask your pediatrician for advice when introducing the baby to solid food, because some doctors argue that babies should not be fed yet until they are about 6 months of age.

Your baby will also give you signs that he/she is ready for solid food. He/she might be ready if you see the following signs: baby can keep his/her head steady; baby can sit upright; baby is curious about food; baby has gained weight; and baby can use his/her tongue and mouth properly.

Recommended First Solid Food
If you think your baby is ready to eat his/her first solid food, you should look for food that can be safely digested by baby’s sensitive tummy. Most babies can easily digest pureed single-ingredient solid food, such as squash, potato, banana, pear, peach, avocado, sweet potato, and brown rice cereal. Some doctors also recommend beef or chicken if the baby is still breastfeeding at 6 months.

Do not add salt, sugar, and other ingredients yet. Observe baby’s reaction to food and signs of allergies. Later, you can introduce known allergens, such as wheat, fish, eggs, soy and peanut butter, to determine if baby reacts to any one of them. If a family member, however, is known to be allergic to some food, you should ask the pediatrician about coming up with a feeding plan and blood tests for the baby.

Introducing Solid Food
Most parents start by preparing the food themselves to make sure that there are no additives to the food, although commercial baby food is generally safe if you read the labels properly. Spoon-feed the infant with the puree, limiting each feeding to 1 to 2 teaspoons.

You can also let the baby feed himself/herself by placing the food in front of him/her after nursing or bottle-feeding. Cereals should be diluted and mixed with milk or baby formula when introduced for the first time. If the baby does not seem interested, just let him/her smell it then try again later.

One feeding daily should be enough to allow the baby to practice chewing and swallowing. Remember to place the food in a feeding dish separate from the jar or container of baby food to prevent bacteria from accumulating. Leftovers from the feeding dish should not be stored and open food containers should be disposed one or two days after opening.

7 Treats for Everyone in Singapore with a Sweet Tooth

Most people would agree when we say that there’s nothing a sweet treat can’t cure. It lifts up moods, it’s a good reward after a long day, and it bonds relationships. In short, it’s what life basically is: sweet in just the right amount.

Singapore also has its local sweet indulgences and here’s a list that’s sure to leave you mouth-wateringly searching for your own source of sugar rush.

1. Peanut Paste
Made from what its name suggests, this is a popular dessert in Singapore. Known to have originated from Hong Kong, this treat has other varieties such as walnut paste, almond paste and sesame paste. With its smooth texture, it will give you the sweet boost for a long day.

2. Sago Gula Melaka
Palm sugar or typically known as Gula Melaka in Singapore is paired with sago and coconut milk in this treat. With its rich caramel flavor, it has that right mix of chewiness provided by the sago and the right amount of silkiness courtesy of the coconut milk.

3. Sugee Cake
A dense cake made from samonlina flour, a generous amount of butter, egg yolk and crushed almonds, this treat definitely satiates the craving for textures of the pastry kind. It’s basically a pound cake usually served at Christmas feasts shared by families.

4. Tau Huay
Served either hot or cold, this treat known as soya beancurd is made from boiled soy bean milk and a coagulant. It is cooled to a certain extent to achieve its pudding form, ready for serving.

5. Tau Suan
Basically made from split mung beans, this treat proves to be an efficient comfort food. Served hot, this treat has fried You Tiao or dough fritters complementing it with texture. This treat is prepared by boiling split mung beans with pandan, condensed with potato flour.

6. Pulut Hitam
Prepared by simmering black glutinous rice mixed with coconut milk and Gula Melaka or palm sugar, this treat is sure to have captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Known for its nutty flavor, it will sure give you that crazy kick of energy after a great meal.

7. Orh Nee
The main star of this treat is yam paste, which is first fried then blended. A smooth consistency lets you know you’ve blended it just right. Typically, ginkgo nuts and pumpkin accompany this treat to enhance its flavor and texture.

It goes without saying that almost every great meal needs a dessert to punctuate it with. No matter how tasty the main course is, the dessert always has the final say. So for those looking for the sugar rush they crave for, Singapore has local delicacies ready to tickle your taste buds giddy.

5 Instagram-Ready Spots in the Lion City

We live in a day and age where beauty is not only appreciated as it is, but is mandatory to snap a shot or two to decorate our feeds. Our online selves deserve a beautiful photo once in a while, and both locals and tourists alike can’t help but fill feeds with the beauty Singapore has to offer.

1. Public Transport
To start the list is one which our eyes have grown accustomed to yet never fail to tease our creative right lobes. With the lines and the right amount of grays, public transport stations of Singapore have monochrome patrons coming back for more shots – in different angles and poses.

2. Toa Payoh Playground or Dragon Playground
Who says we outgrow playgrounds? This spot offers colorful and sand-contrasted shots for photography enthusiasts. Singapore actually has four dragon playgrounds yet this remains the only one with sand. The others are dubbed with rubber play mats for added protection to kids. The dragon playground was spearheaded by the Housing and Development Board’s efforts way back 1979, with the Oriental dragon as model.

3. MCI Building
Those looking to add more color to their feeds should definitely pay the MCI building a visit. The vivid colors of green, red, yellow and blue partnered with sturdy walls of the building will surely gain a lot of good shots. Located along the Civic District trail, this infrastructure will surely leave your camera roll dripping with color.

4. Raffles Marina Lighthouse
If a touch of prestige is what you’re looking for in your photos, drop by Singapore’s Raffles Marina Lighthouse. Not only will your photos have that laid-back vacation vibe, but more importantly a tinge of these water-borne structures to contrast your in-land usuals. Nothing like a tinge of nature to balance all the infrastructures the life in the city has.

5. CHIJMES
This picturesque area of a complex of convent buildings is located in the heart of the city. It first started as a Catholic convent named as the Convent of the Holy Child Jesus (CHIJ). It was also called as Caldwell house, a convent quarters. An icon of history, religion and urbanized turn of the times, CHIJMES once served as a convent for 132 years. Today, the chapel is called the CHIJMES Hall, serving as a multi-purpose hall. The Caldwell House is now an art gallery, proving a convenient spot to visit for art enthusiasts.

We all have means and media with which to capture beauty we are blessed to enjoy today. Gadgets, camera, and such technological advancements all prove to be handy extensions of our mind’s eye in remembering spots that take our breath away.

Just don’t forget to put those down once in a while and indulge in the scene with our best gadget: our eyes.

      Copyright © 2018 Great Bargains Singapore